Shawn Johnson spreads a positive message about body image

In the last few months there’s been chitter chatter and comments on forums and blogs relating to gymnastics physique and look. One gymnast who has been commented on a lot, mainly in regards to her legs, is Shawn Johnson. This week KCCI reports on how Shawn Johnson has been helping to spread a positive message to girls about body image and self esteem. Read the report here and see a very short clip of Shawn speaking.

Well done Shawn, it’s great to see people using their fame for good reasons and issues like this.

Iowa Olympic star Shawn Johnson helped to spread a positive message about body image and self-esteem in Des Moines on Thursday.

The gold medal-winning gymnast said she pulled from her own experience as a not-so-cookie-cutter star to help central Iowa girls learn what’s really important.

“There’s a huge push in the world on an image, a stereotypical, beautiful model image, especially in gymnastics,” Johnson said. “I was a huge target for that.”

She said it wasn’t unusual to hear stories in her sport about cases of anorexia and bulimia. She said that her 4 foot 11 inch muscular build wasn’t popular with some on Dancing with the Stars, either. Johnson said she was frequently compared to Holly Madison.

“I don’t know if you girls know who that is, but she’s a model and she’s like tiny and tall! And they’re like, ‘You have to become her,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m 4 foot 11, that’s not possible,'” Johnson said.The girls who came to hear Johnson speak are involved in the Chrysalis Foundation’s activities. The group sponsors afterschool activities for girls all over central Iowa.Participants said they’ve already learned a lot about growing up, being a better person, learning to deal with bullies and how to be themselves.

Johnson said she hoped her words would solidify that message.

“Image isn’t everything,” she said. “It’s what comes from your heart and what you learn and what you say and how you act that means more than anything.”

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